James A. Roosevelt

James A. Roosevelt
Born James Alfred Roosevelt
June 13, 1825
New York City, New York
Died July 15, 1898 (aged 73)
Hyde Park, New York
Resting place Green-Wood Cemetery
Occupation Businessman
Employer Roosevelt & Son
Elizabeth Norris Emlen
(m. 1847; his death 1898)
Children 4, including William
Parent(s) Cornelius Roosevelt
Margaret Barnhill
Relatives See Roosevelt family

James Alfred Roosevelt (June 13, 1825 – July 15, 1898) was an American businessman and philanthropist. A member of the Roosevelt family, he was an uncle of President Theodore Roosevelt.[1]

Early life

Roosevelt was born on June 13, 1825 to Cornelius Van Schaack Roosevelt (1794–1871) and Margaret Barnhill (1799–1861). His siblings were Silas Weir Roosevelt (1823–1870),[2] Cornelius Van Schaack Roosevelt, Jr. (1827–1887),[3] Robert Barnhill Roosevelt (1829–1906), Theodore Roosevelt, Sr. (1831–1878), who was married to Martha "Mittie" Bulloch (1835–1884), and William Wallace Roosevelt (1834–1835).[4]


Roosevelt became a member of his father's mercantile firm, Roosevelt & Son, at the age of twenty, and eventually succeeded him as its head. He was connected with many other institutions, including as vice president of the Chemical Bank of New York; president of the Broadway Improvement Company; vice president of the Bank of Savings; member of the board of managers of the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company; director of the New York Life Insurance Trust.[5]

He was a trustee to the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children and on the New York Board of Park Commissioners during the William Lafayette Strong Administration.[6] He was a president of Roosevelt Hospital that was founded by his distant cousin James H. Roosevelt.[1]

Personal life

On December 22, 1847, he married Elizabeth Norris Emlen (1825–1912), the daughter of William Fishbourne Emlen (1786–1866) and Mary Parker Norris (1791–1872). Together, they had four children, including:[7]

  • Mary Emlen Roosevelt (1848–1885)
  • Leila Roosevelt (1850–1934),[8] who married Edward Reeve Merritt (1850–1931).[6][9][10]
  • Alfred Roosevelt (1856–1891), who married Katherine Lowell (1858–1925) in 1882.[7]
  • William Emlen Roosevelt (1857–1930), who married Christine Griffin Kean (1858–1936) in 1883.[7]

He died on July 15, 1898 near Mineola, New York while riding a train on his way home to Oyster Bay, New York.[1]


Through his son, Alfred, he was the grandfather of Elfrida Roosevelt, who married Sir Orme Bigland Clarke, 4th Baronet, and was the mother of Sir Humphrey Clarke, 5th Baronet.[11]


  1. 1 2 3 "JAMES A. ROOSEVELT DEAD; He Expires Suddenly on a Train of the Long Island Railroad. WAS A VICTIM OF APOPLEXY His Nephew Is Col. Theodore Roosevelt of the Rough Riders -- His Long and Prominent Career in This City". The New York Times. 16 July 1898. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  2. "Silas Weir Roosevelt". www.findagrave.com. Find A Grave Memorial. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  3. "Cornelius Van Schaak Roosevelt". www.findagrave.com. Find A Grave Memorial. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  4. "POTTS FAMILY SHORT STORY". heritech.com. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  5. "James A Roosevelt Papers". Oyster Bay Historical Society. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  6. 1 2 "MRS. REEVE-MERRITT DIES AT OYSTER BAY; Widow of New York Banker, She Was Cousin of Former President Roosevelt". The New York Times. 19 September 1934. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  7. 1 2 3 Jordan, John W. (2004). Colonial And Revolutionary Families Of Pennsylvania. Genealogical Publishing Com. ISBN 9780806352398. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  8. "TO EXPLORE BY CAR.; Woman Relative of Roosevelts Plans Trip Through Asia". The New York Times. 18 February 1933. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  9. "TR Center - Letter from Theodore Roosevelt to Edward Reeve Merritt". www.theodorerooseveltcenter.org. 1 February 1904. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  10. "Letter from Theodore Roosevelt to Leila Merritt | Connecting Presidential Collections". presidentialcollections.org. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  11. "WILL OF JAMES A. ROOSEVELT.; Mrs. Roosevelt Receives Half of the Real Estate, Besides Other Property. Trust Funds for Heirs" (PDF). The New York Times. July 28, 1898.


  • Cobb, William T. (1946). The Strenuous Life: The Oyster Bay Roosevelts in Business and Finance. William E. Rudge's Sons. 
  • Whittelsey, Charles B. (1902). The Roosevelt Genealogy, 1649–1902. 
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